Meet Ola Brown-Orekunrin, a Doctor with Flying Colours.
We’ve always been besieged with the negative stories of Africans in the diaspora. However, there are Africans who are making a wave and walking gracefully among noblemen. Splattered on the pages of both print and online media is the stories of the inglorious state of Africa’s most populous nation. Hitherto, little has been said about the yet-tapped treasures hidden in humans that tread the streets of the country and those putting the country on the world map.
Truly, earth great treasures lie in human personality. While many have been blindfolded by the darkness that betroths itself to the cloud in the night and wanders around like scavengers. Some have seen the light and pen down their name in the history book. One of them is Dr Ola Brown-Orekunrin who was born to Nigerian parents and but grew up in the small seaside town of Lowestoft in the south-east of England where the weather drizzle lightly.
Drilled and trained by seasoned scholars, Ola Orekunrin is one of the Nigerians that drank from the Pierian Spring of Knowledge of the University of York Dons. She earned her medical degree from Hull York Medical School. Dazzling and sharp-witted Ola became a medical doctor at the age of 21, thereby joining the league of young intelligentsias who became a qualified professional at a young age.
Trained in the art of medicine, she graduated with flying colours and in 2010 conceive a brand and a life-saving enterprise – the Nigerian Flying Doctors. A start-up that has helped Ola fuse her undying passion for the medical profession with her interest in flying – as a trained helicopter pilot.
The first of its kind in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa. The flying doctor was birthed to address the numerous problems in the Nigerian health sector and those faced by patients in dire need of care in Nigeria and beyond. Tetched by the belated intervention during illness and accidents which invariably leave many to journey to the land of the ghost and her zest for life after the tragic loss of her sister in the cold hands of death was the driving force which brought the idea Nigeria Flying Doctors to life.
She’d stated it during her interview whenever journalists inquire about the company. She further detailed the motive behind the Nigeria Flying Doctors in an interview with Lionessofafrica.com. In her words, Ola Brown stated that “Setting up the company was a direct result of my fascination for helicopters, trauma medicine, motor accident kinematics and pre-hospital medicine. I knew it was something that I had the skills and experience to do.”
No doubt, her brilliance and professional services rendered by her startup have earned her accolades and encomiums from both young and old. Ola left her bountiful life, work and even colleagues in the United Kingdom where she grew up to nurture the first air-operated Emergency Medical Service in Lagos, Nigeria. According to her, the company can boost of 24 hours a day, 365 days in a year interrupted services with the 20 aircraft and 44 qualified medical doctors who can deliver care to save lives in case of emergency.
The pride of womanhood, a shining star that trail the clear sky and the present & future of Africa’s medical profession, Ola Brown Orekunrin is an inspiring figure for the teeming Nigerian youths in leadership and entrepreneurship. She was a recipient of the ThisDay Awards in 2012 and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013 together with other inspiring young leaders like Saran Kaba Jones, Cobhams Asuquo, Tara Fela-Durotoye and others. Her Ola is also a TED fellow.
Ola’s path to establishing the air ambulance was met with stumbling blocks. There were times the energetic doctor’s hope were dashed with long hours of waiting in offices, she was even stickup on her way to Ondo to get funding to start what will eventually become the first air ambulance service in the whole of West Africa. Despite the hostile treatment, she was greeted with when decided to start the company in Nigeria after leaving her lucrative job in the UK, she remained unperturbed, fighting back the beast which threatened to kill her dream.
An innovator and disruptor of the Nigeria Healthcare sector, she was listed among 30 under 30 young Africans that are making a wave on the continent and impacting lives by the foremost magazine Forbes on their website. In 2016, Dr Ola Brown Orekunrin was recognised by the year’s ConsumersNg Awards for being one of the top 20 brands in Nigeria adopting high-tech innovations in delivering services to people. Ola is a well-respected member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Surgeons and the British Medical Association.
She also believes Africa is way behind in innovation and expects the continents to leapfrog and build new technology. According to her, “we need to start thinking what sorts of devices, what sorts of technology, what sorts of gadgets we can invent ourselves. And these technologies can generate a whole new industry that we can take to the world.” She further reiterated that young prospects and determined entrepreneurs in Africa should look inward and develop her own so as to address shortages and problems faced by Africans.
Like every industrious and hardworking entrepreneur who worked tooth and nail to start a new business from the scratch and foster it to become a successful business brand, her own story is also intriguing and captivating. Dr Ola Brown believes young entrepreneurs and innovators in Nigeria can effect change in the country through their innovations and start-ups. This she believed will transform Africa and addressed the numerous challenges she’s facing.
The vital role Ola-Orekunrin and her flying squad of competent doctors have played by intervening in accidents and averting tragedy through the use of the flying machine cannot be unheeded.
Dr Ola Orekunrin’s story is amazing and mind-boggling, from the shock demise of her sister at a young age due to the mundane and antediluvian health system in the country, to the challenges she faced when she decided to start what is relatively new in the country. She has saved hundreds of lives and remained a celebrated medical professional in the country. Dr Ola has seen through the hard times and she has been training hundreds of people in aviation medicine.
She hoped to spread the services to the common man and remote area of the website Africa. And in turn save more lives in a cost-effective manner, through this she’s achieving her aspiration. She is dogged, determined, young and getting it.